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Lactation Support Program

This toolkit provides an example of how to create a comprehensive lactation, or breastfeeding, support program for nursing mothers at the work site. The term "lactation support program" is intended to signify a program that provides lactating employees with educational and environmental support of their breastfeeding goals. The word "lactation" (LSP) is used to clarify and avoid the implication that the mothers would need to have their babies at work to nurse them, rather, the toolkit is designed to help employers set up a program for employees to be able to pump and store their breast milk at work, to take home to their infants at the end of the workday.

Health Challenge

CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions"Mothers are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. labor force. Approximately 70% of employed mothers with children younger than 3 years work full time. One-third of these mothers return to work within 3 months after birth and two-thirds return within 6 months. Working outside the home is related to a shorter duration of breastfeeding, and intentions to work full-time are significantly associated with lower rates of breastfeeding initiation and shorter duration. Low-income women, among whom African American and Hispanic women are overrepresented, are more likely than their higher-income counterparts to return to work earlier and to be engaged in jobs that make it challenging for them to continue breastfeeding. Given the substantial presence of mothers in the work force, there is a strong need to establish lactation support in the workplace. Barriers identified in the workplace include a lack of flexibility for milk expression in the work schedule, lack of accommodations to pump or store breast-milk, concerns about support from employers and colleagues, and real or perceived low milk supply."
CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions [PDF-1.01Mb]

The purpose of establishing a work site LSP is to reduce barriers to breastfeeding among employees who have recently given birth, enabling them to transition back into the workplace while optimizing the benefits their infants receive from being breastfed.

A comprehensive LSP is a win-win-win situation. It benefits employers by making it easier for new moms to return to work. It benefits working new moms by giving them the peace of mind that they can still provide ideal nutrition for their infants. And, of course, it benefits infants, often covered as dependents under the employer health plan, by giving them a healthy start in life.

Toolkit Components

This toolkit describes how others in federal or non-federal workplaces can plan and implement a comprehensive LSP and evaluate its success. Three topics will be covered in the toolkit: lactation-supportive policies, lactation support services (such as classes and support groups), and creating a physical environment that supports lactation. The toolkit describes the following project phases:

Note: this toolkit is simply an example of what we did at CDC. The examples and guidance provided should not be a substitute for working with your own internal policy and legal staff to develop appropriate guidelines and procedures for running a discount fitness club network. Additionally, CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are in no way responsible or liable for guaranteeing the success of a discount fitness club network established as a result of this toolkit.

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